Rhapsody - Legendary Tales


Year of Release: 1997
Label: Limb Music Products
Catalog Number: LMP 9710 001
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:21:00

The wait is over ... the hype has ended ... the disc is here ... it's time to find out if everything we have been waiting for was worth all of the anticipation and hopes ... Not withstanding that, was it worth it for The Laser's Edge to be one of the first vendors on the planet to bring this disc to us, and why is Glenn [Harveston] having his ass kicked by this disc, and so on and so on .....

Well, let me tell you, the answer to all of these questions is YES ... the disc is awesome, the disc was well worth the wait, and I can see why it is kicking ass and creating such a fuss ... Before I even get into the breakdown of this disc, I want to say that it is essential for all speed metal lovers to get out there and grab this disc immediately ... from the moment I first put this disc on, it hasn't stopped amazing me ... it is so very well done and put together, it just screams for attention ... I will not sit and write that it blows away every disc in this genre that has come down the pike as of late, because everyone has their opinions ... however, there is no denying that this is truly a special disc ... First and foremost ... how often do I start a review with comments about the artwork on the cover, the insert and the way the package has been put together?? Almost never, but this will give you an idea of how much effort went into putting this whole project together, and I'll fill you in on who is responsible for most of this commotion a little later ... On the cover, a beautiful painting of a Warrior on a flying horse battling a dragon in mid-air ... sure, sure, we've seen it all before ... the back of the insert depicts a painting of the beautiful land and castle that the Warrior no doubt is protecting ... ok, what about the music?? Not yet; throughout the insert, there are pictures of the band in golden, dragon-tailed frames, and of course, a picture map of the legendary area where all of this takes place ... The lyrics are beautifully drawn out in Medieval-like fonts, and the back of the insert even contains a history of Rhapsody, done up Medieval style, which gives you an idea of how this project came to be ... and there's a chronicle of the tales, and there's ... and there's ... well, you get the idea ... this disc is well thought-out, well put together, and the bottom line is, this disc wreaks of class from beginning to end without even hitting the PLAY button ... all this comes courtesy, of, well, you'll meet him later on ...

THE STYLE:

This is definitely in the speed metal genre, but it cannot remain strictly in that category, because the band incorporates so many different styles into their music, its almost to keep track of which ones ... for simplicity's sake, I would call this symphonic / neo-classical speed metal ... The long version would be a speed metal base, with neo-classical overtones, laced with orchestration and progression with a Celtic flair ... for comparison's sake, if you took some Angel's Cry-styled Angra, mixed in some Stratovarius (compliments of the key-style), added some Helloween, Labyrinth, and some other bands of this style, took an orchestra complete with violins, flutes, cellos, mandolins, and some neat harps and harpsichords, and so on we go , you would have Rhapsody ... however, while I am making all of these comparisons for the readers sake, I will never let you forget the CLASS of this band ... I have to go on record and say that I cannot think of another band in this genre that puts so much effort into making itself one, classy act ... as I said from the beginning comments, everything about this band wreaks CLASS, and while some bands can boast a great CD cover and sometimes not deliver the goods, make no mistake, Rhapsody means business throughout the project from beginning to end ...

THE PRODUCTION:

What else could it be?? If I just said it was astounding, would that be enough?? Well, consider this ... Sasha Paeth, who produced Angra and other metal bands, also produced this one ... since I mentioned an Angra-styled sound, why not take a producer who made that band sound great as well, right???? Right ... everything is in place here, especially the astounding vocals which I will get to a bit later ... as in lots of speed metal bands, I find the drums just a bit on the "quieter" side if you will ... this is typical in lots of speed metal bands, although I could never figure out why ... however, it does add that "atmosphere" to the Medieval "feel" to the disc ... no one instrument really stands out front, except for the vocals, and as well it should ... the guitar is nicely meshed with the orchestrated instruments, creating a nice solid background as well as creating the power of the sound ... the drums and bass are nicely in sync with each other as well, and it is easy to hear Sasha Paeth belting out classical runs on the bass guitar, which he contributed to this disc ... every instrument is well heard in the orchestra as well, and it is this huge, epic sound that drives this disc ... although I found the snare drum just a bit on the "quiet" side, and I have also read this in other reviews, it does not detract from the overall feel of the music ...

THE VOCALS:

Well, I have to admit, with just an average, ordinary singer, this disc would probably not reach the heights that it does ... but judging from the quality of all the other aspects of this disc, it would only follow suit that the band would choose someone who could match the beauty and power of this epic music ... welcome, Joe Terry, formerly of Labyrinth ... now using his real Italian name, Fabio Lione (I'll call him Joe), he has to be one of the finest singers in the world of prog metal ... I personally thought that he was fabulous fronting Labyrinth, but I had no idea of his true abilities until he got out in front of this menagerie and started belting out along side the orchestra ... well, let me tell you, they couldn't have found a better singer, or a better voice to suit this music ... Joe can sing beautifully in his normal tone, and he can also sing beautifully in his higher tone, which he finally gets to use on this disc ... not only his voice beautiful to listen to, it is powerful as well, and it is easy to hear that no matter what style of music is playing around him, he can easily match the power and more ... you almost get the impression that any music would be easy for him to sing with ... and there is no doubt in my mind that he can ... his voice just adds so much warmth and beauty to this music, that it really is hard to find fault anywhere you turn ... I'll go on record and state that Joe Terry is one of the best singers in prog metal, his voice has to be heard to be believed ...

THE BAND

Well, let me start with Luca Turilli, who is most responsible for all of this commotion it would appear ... guitarist extraordinaire, as most guitarists have to be in this genre, sets yet another standard for the worthy title of "guitar god" ... obviously classically trained, he performs each song as effortlessly as it all sounds, yet it is very complex sounding, with all the time changes throughout each song, and then there's the speed I was talking about ... Turilli wrote most of the lyrics, along with Alex Starpoli, the keyboard player, but Turilli is credited the most throughout the disc, including the Algalord's concept story included in the booklet, and he also composes all of the classically arranged interludes throughout the disc. It is obvious where his musical influences lie. The guitars are layered at times, making it sound like twin guitars, and when they are mixed in with the many violins throughout the disc, it makes for quite the arrangements. The bass is flawless, performed by producer Sasha Paeth, and again, keeping up with Turilli and the rest of the crew would normally be quite the task for a bass player, but Paeth winds and turns through his parts as if he were part of this band from the start ... the drummer is excellent, and he has to be to maintaining some type of semblance of a beat throughout all of the madness going on around him. Not only does he have to keep up with the underlying music, which is very fast and complex at times, he also has to maintain a perfect mesh with the orchestra that interrupts the music many times during the course of the show ... the keyboard player is excellent as well, and lots of times he reminds me of a Jans Johannsen, also quite able to keep up with all of the other instruments being played at high speeds. Overall, it is hard for me to think of a band that is this tight and organized, considering how much is going on around them at once.

THE COMMENTS

There are many bands that make up this genre called "speed metal," and we all have our favorites along the way. However, this is not just your ordinary speed metal band that you can take or leave. As many bands are taking prog metal, and injecting an already beautiful genre with their own fresh ideas, so does the tradition continue with this band. They have taken speed / prog metal to new heights, opting to take a classical sound and add an orchestra to that sound. Put that sound together with the speedy base sound of the band, and you have one, serious, epic, melodic, powerful disc. This disc will appeal to those fans of speed metal, but then again it will also appeal to fans of bands like Angra, that choose to add their own dose of talent and sound to an established genre. I would say that any fans of Angra, Stratovarius, Labyrinth, Helloween, and other bands of this genre are going to have a field day with this disc, and I would also imagine that this disc is going to garner much talk over the next few months. This band has certainly brought the style to new heights, and once again I say that its refreshing to see bands coming out of the woodwork and creating gems like this to keep the genre alive and flowing. This would be hard for me to say that I highly recommend it, I would have to call it essential.



Not sure if the below was a response to Larry's review directly, or somewhere along the way it was decided they needed to be together... anyway... the below is courtesy Jeff Keifling (a review, along with Larry's, acquired when we absorbed AudioVision back in 1999.

Disc Rating: 9/10

Yep! I like the design better than the music. No offense to the music though; it's probably the best CD put out in '97, but I'm going nuts over the graphics on this thing. Sort of a cliche, the unicorn warrior fighting the flying dragon concept is tastefully done. The real treat is opening it to the band members photos, where they are depicted each on their own page in a time era golden border, clutching timepieces that fit well with the Legendary Tales concept. They even look like warriors!


Tracklisting:
Ira Tenax (1:13) / Warrior Of Ice (5:58) / Rage Of The Winter (6:10) / Forest Of Unicorns (3:23) / Flames Of Revenge (5:32) / Virgin Skies (1:22) / Land Of Immortals (4:49) / Echoes Of Tragedy (3:32) / Lord Of The Thunder (5:32) / Legendary Tales (7:50)

Musicians:
Fabio Lione - vocals
Sasha Paeth - bass, acoustic guitars, and mandolin
Luca Turilli - guitars
Daniele Carbonera - drums
Alex Staropoli - keyboards
Robert Hunecke - bass
Manuel Staropoli - baroque recorder
Thomas Rettke, Cinzia Rizzo - backing vocals
Anne Schnyder - lead violin
Choir of Immortals: Thomas Rettke, Robert Hunecke, Miro, Wolfgang Herbst, Ricky Rizzo, Fabio Lione, Luca Turilli, Alex Staropoli, Cinzia Rizzo, Tatiana Bloch
Strings ensemble: violins - Anne Schnyder & Helia Davis, viola - Oliver Kopf, cello - Paul F. B?hnke, contra bass - Andr? Neygenfind

Discography:
Legendary Tales (1997)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Dawn Of Victory (2000)
Rain Of A Thousand Flames (2001)
Power Of The Dragonflame (2002)
The Dark Secret (2004)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret (2004)
Rhapsody Of Fire - Triumph Or Agony (The Dark Secret Saga, Part II) (2007)
Rhapsody Of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010)

Rhapsody Of Fire - Visions From The Enchanted Lands (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri
Score:
Artist website: www.mightyrhapsody.com
Hits: 818
Language: english

  

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